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Choosing a Health and Safety Consultant

Choosing a health and safety consultant

Under UK health and safety law (the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 7) it is every employers’ duty to provide competent safety advice – therefore an employer can delegate the work associated with safety but not the responsibility for it – so choose them carefully!

Consultants will never know your business as well as you. A consultant’s knowledge of your business is only as good as the information you provide. If you fail to provide correct information, they fail to ask the right questions or you misinterpret their questions, the advice they provide can potentially be inaccurate or incorrect. This could result in you being prosecuted via the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 or its subordinate regulations.

  • It is absolutely essential therefore that you choose your health and safety consultant or advisor carefully as they effectively your health and safety partner rather than your consultant or advisor.
  • Do you know what you want the consultant to do for you? Do you have a Brief they can respond to? Your Brief should consider:
  • Is your only concern legal compliance? Are you interested in pursuing industry best practice? Do you wish to continuously improve your management of health and safety over time?
  • Health and safety can often best be integrated with other aspects of overall management. Do you wish to consider doing so? Potential partners include:

                   – HR or people management and or a desire to attract and retain the best people in your industry.
                   – Quality management via a formal system, or just the desire for your business to be best in your sector.
                   – Environmental management.

  • Speak to a few candidates – selected from the OSHCR register (www.oshcr.org) – before choosing one; walk them through your premises, and talk them through your business as part of your selection process. Ask them to respond with a brief written proposal.